Drunk Driving Lawyer – Serving Clients Charged in Indianapolis, Noblesville, Carmel, and the Surrounding Communities

Charged with Drunk Driving?  Operating While Intoxicated?  Driving Under the Influence?  OWI? DUI?   Despite the different terminology, these charges are essentially the same.  In Indiana, the common charge is operating while intoxicated or OWI; however, there are also several types of related offenses that may be charged.

Before discussing each type of OWI, it’s important to understand that while being charged with an OWI is not going to be an enjoyable experience, it doesn’t have to ruin your life.  You hold the keys to make this a blimp in the radar, and to make sure that this charge will not define you as a person.  We help clients in seeking to achieve the best result possible for their case.

The OWI Arrest

The most common way an OWI/Operating While Intoxicated arrest begins is when one is pulled over for a traffic or equipment infraction.  Of course there are other ways, such as a sobriety check point, or a car accident.

As part of a traffic stop, the officer may have indicated that he or she smelled alcohol on your breath or coming from your vehicle.  You may have been asked to step outside of your vehicle and to take a field sobriety test.  Finally you may have been required to take a breathalyzer test (either at the scene of the traffic stop, and at jail).

Rest assured, if we are hired to represent you against an OWI/Operating While Intoxicated charge, we will obtain all of the evidence the State of Indiana has.  This will include police reports, police videos, videos of the traffic stop, videos of the field sobriety tests, accident reports, breathalyzer results, and/or blood test results.

If your vehicle was stopped illegally, or these field sobriety tests were done incorrectly, or anything related to the operating while intoxicated stop was done illegally, we may be able to file a Motion to Suppress the stop and subsequent evidence in your case (in which case all charges against you may be dismissed)

What Can Happen After the OWI Arrest?

If you have been charged with an OWI/Operating While Intoxicated offense, one of three things are likely true.  Either 1) you submitted to and failed a breathalyzer; 2) you refused to take a breathalyzer, and a warrant was obtained to take a blood draw from you or 3) you were unable to take a breathalyzer for some reason, and you submitted to a blood draw.  If you took a breathalyzer, and failed, your license will likely be suspended at your Initial Hearing for 180 days, subject to its termination at some later date (usually at a guilty plea hearing).  If you refused to take a breathalyzer and this is your first OWI/Operating While Intoxicated offense, your license will likely be suspended for 365 days, subject to possible termination at some later date.

Indiana OWI Charges – Different Levels

There is OWI/Operating While Intoxicated with an alcohol concentration equivalent > 0.15, which is outlined in Indiana Code 9-30-5-1.   This offense is likely to be charged when you have taken a breathalyzer that showed you with an ACE of .15 or higher.  This offense is a Class A Misdemeanor.  It brings a maximum penalty of 365 days in jail, court costs, and a fine up to $5,000.00, and up to 1-year probation.  The minimum penalty offense is no time in jail, and no fine.  The license suspension for this offense could be up to 365 days.

There is OWI//Operating While Intoxicated, endangering a person, which is outlined in Indiana Code 9-30-5-2.  This occurs when a person is found to have been intoxicated, operating a vehicle, and doing so in a way that endangered the person or someone else.

Endangerment can be shown in many different ways.  Obviously, a car accident is an easy way that would show that one endangered someone else.  However, there are many other actions that can be considered endangerment, including excessive speeding or crossing the center line of traffic.

This offense is a Class A Misdemeanor.  It brings a maximum penalty of 365 days in jail, court costs, and a fine up to $5,000.00, and up to 1-year probation.  The minimum penalty offense is no time in jail, and no fine.  The license suspension for this offense could be up to 365 days.

There is OWI/Operating While Intoxicated with an alcohol concentration equivalent greater than .08, but less than a 0.15, which is outlined in Indiana Code 9-30-5-1.  This offense is a Class C Misdemeanor.  It brings a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail, a fine up to $500.00, and up to 1-year probation.  The minimum penalty offense is no time in jail, and no fine.  The license suspension for this offense could be up to 60 days.

A person may also be charged with Operating While Intoxicated due to some kind of drug or controlled substance in their system.  Additionally, a person could be charged with Operating While Intoxicated, even without blood alcohol results, or even if their  BAC is less than .08.  While these situations are rare, they are certainly possible, and are outlined in I.C. 9-30-5-2.

 

OWI>.08 OWI >.15 OWI Endangering
Jail Up to 60 days Up to 365 Days Up to 365 Days
Fines Up to $500 Up to $5,000 Up to $5,000
License Suspension Up to 60 days Up to 365 Days Up to 365 Days

The Penalties are More Severe With Additional Offenses

The above discussion is largely focused on the penalties and procedures for first-time offenses.  If this is not your first offense, different procedures may apply.

For example, a second OWI/Operating While Intoxicated offense brings with it a minimum of 5 actual days in jail or 180 hours community service.   For a third OWI/Operating While Intoxicated offense it brings a statutory minimum of 10 actual days in jail or 360 hours of community service.  However, if you have arrested and charged with an OWI/Operating While Intoxicated within 5 years of a prior conviction (not arrest), then you will be charged with a Level 6 Felony.  A level 6 felony brings with it a maximum term of imprisonment of two and a half years.

If You’ve Been Charged with OWI/Drunk Driving or a Related Crime, Please Contact Us

Prosecutors want to convict, especially in drunk driving cases.  Your best option is to seek experienced, aggressive representation for your case.

Call us today for a free consultation to learn how we can help.

While we practice criminal defense in each of the central Indiana counties, our main office is located in Noblesville, Indiana.  Noblesville is the county seat of Hamilton County.  In Hamilton County, if you are charged with an OWI, there is a high likelihood your case has or will be filed in Hamilton County Superior Court #4, Hamilton County Superior Court #5, or Hamilton County Superior Court #6.  These are the courts that handle most of the Level 6 Felony and Misdemeanor drunk driving charges. Having an office just a block away from these courts, and the prosecutor’s office has allowed us the opportunity to become very accustomed to the procedures, strategies, and policies of these judges, courts, and prosecutors.  Let us help you navigate yourself through these courts, and ensure that you have the criminal defense you need, by your side.